At the start of 2021, Janice Davidson took a big leap of faith when she quit her longtime position as the director of recreation at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Mich. to start her own business, North Mitten Events. Eight months later, Janice describes life as full and busy — and better than ever.

Janice Davidson on the Betsie Valley Trail

“It can be scary for sure, but it feels great. I’m doing what I believe in — things that I feel that are great for our community, both our planet and our people, and I’m really excited to be here.”

Janice Davidson, race director, runner, and mom of two

Janice returns to the MRG Show to talk about her latest endeavor: bringing back a popular trail run in her beloved area of northern Michigan. The Betsie Valley Trail Run — a half marathon, 10K, 5K and 1-mile fun run — takes place on Sunday, Sept. 19 on the Betsie Valley Trail near Thompsonville. As Heather mentions during the show, she ran the half marathon back in 2010, when it was under different race management. It also happened to be Janice’s very first 13.1, in 2011. 

To listen to the latest MRG podcast episode, click on the player at the top of this post. Or, download the episode (and subscribe to the show!) using your favorite podcast app.

Betsie Valley Trail, home to the Betsie Valley Trail Run Half Marathon, 10K, 5K & 1-mile fun run on Sept. 19.

Along with sharing all of the details of this fall’s event — the race course is flat and incredibly scenic — Janice talks about life as a business owner, how things have changed for her in the past several months, and an exciting new role she is taking on this winter (she breaks the official news during this conversation!). She also talks about her love of nature and how important spending time outdoors is to her and her family.

“I think nature helps us in every way. So getting outdoors, absolutely, and remembering that that’s really part of my focus, to help protect our planet and get out there and enjoy it. There’s so many opportunities in northern Michigan to explore and to just be.”

You’ll also get a special podcast-listener discount code for the Betsie Valley Trail Run. If you’re looking for a fall race, you’re definitely going to want to check out this one. Heather is hoping to be there, too!

Views from the Betsie Valley Trail.


Check out the North Mitten Facebook page here.

Learn more about Crystal Mountain and register for the race here.


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If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio, or Stitcher. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

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